The Top Three Webinars That Rocked 2019

At ON24, we like to cap the end of the year on a high note. To do so, we go out and ask #webinerds like you to highlight the webinars you came across that you thought rocked. Then, we curate the best of the best and present them to you in our annual Webinars That Rocked event.

This year, we had a slew of excellent webinars to work through. And that’s not an exaggeration: from console design and programmatic approaches to planned interactivity and engagement — the crop of webinars this year was the best yet.

But who was the best? Let’s take a look at the three winners from this year’s Webinars That Rocked.

#3 Collette

Our first webinar that rocked is from Collette, a leading worldwide destination and travel company that got its start in 1918. So what did Collette do to make its webinars rock?

A Killer Console

Looking to tour the world? Then you’re looking for places that make your interest pop. And what better way to capture curiosity than with plenty of resources and a console that makes Kodachrome jealous. Collette’s console uses a high-quality image of Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral to capture the viewer’s attention and includes an array of colorful icons for its toolbar at the bottom of the page. Great use of color.

Lots of Interactive Opportunities

Take another look at the slide above. How many engagement opportunities do you see? There are at least 15: 10 resources, two CTAs, a Q&A, a Survey and a Social Media tool. And there could be more! The point is: don’t be afraid to provide your audience with resources and opportunities for them to signal what they want from you. You can, as Collette did, let attendees sign up for an entire webinar series, direct them to a salesperson and much more. Get creative and refine as you go.

Seamless Multimedia Experience

When it comes to webinars, you don’t have to choose between audio, video or PowerPoint slides. You can use all three. Collette’s winning webinar, for example, is primarily an audio-based webinar where the presenters dial-in and speak to a pre-loaded slide deck. But instead of just leaving it at (admittedly stylish) slides, Collette also weaved in multiple video clips throughout its presentation. As Mark said, it’s a perfect way of making an audio webinar feel like a video webinar.

#2 Securly

Taking silver in this year’s Webinars That Rocked is Securly — an awesome company that helps communities to keep kids safe and engaged online, at school and at home. But how did it rock webinars exactly? Simple: smart branded design, approachable hosts, screen-share demos and tons of content.

Great Branded Design

First, let’s talk about design. Securly themed its summer webinars around an immediate pop culture phenomenon that’s surprisingly in sync with what the company is about (minus supernatural ghouls and all that): Stranger Things. Getting inspiration from pop culture and TV shows is an excellent idea because it can be defusing and makes what you’re trying to share immediately relatable.

Serialized Webinars

But series branding is only one element at play. Hosts, too, can play an essential role in how a webinar series is received and how audiences relate to an organization. Securly’s approach is to bring Will Patterson, Security and Safety Evangelist (and competing Chief Webinerd) front and center to guide attendees through the webinar series, introduce subject matter experts and more.

Of course, you need to get audiences to sign up for your webinar series. To encourage sign-ups, Securly offers registrants the ability to sign up for more than one event in the series — letting them choose which courses to take over the summer. This is great on two levels. First, it gives registrants the control they deserve. Second, it highlights for you the topics that resonate with your audience.

Great Interactivity

Finally — and most critically — Securly knows how to generate interactivity. During its webinars, the company would facilitate an extended Q&A session that put audience questions up on the slide window — thrilling for the person who asked the questions and inspiring for those who’d like to get their questions up on the board. In addition to it’s great Q&A, Securly has a range of resources for attendees to download, link out to and read.

#1 Red Whale

Alright, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the webinar that rocked 2019. And that prize goes to Red Whale — a leading provider of primary care medical care education in the United Kingdom. But what did it do to make its webinars rock? Let’s take a look:

Making a Difficult Topic Approachable

Red Whale had a tough job: take a fundamentally personal and sensitive issue, menopause, and make it both relatable and lighthearted to a mass audience that needs to know how to discuss menopause similarly with patients. How did it manage this task? Well, Red Whale provided its audience with a range of resources to download for their education, a Q&A chat, a CTA to for future webinars, polls and hosts that tied the whole thing together.

Multiple Presenters

Red Whale’s multiple presenters played a critical part by diving into the details (also: note that “deep dive” is a recurring theme for the webinar background too — apt for a deep dive series) in their own way.

How? The hosts crafted their own skits that they then acted out in front of green screens to make their lessons more approachable. They even used baking as a metaphor to explain hormone replacement therapy. That’s incredible. And it brings us to our next point.

Making It All Seamless and Relatable

Red Whale had one focal point in its webinar: to make its subject as relatable and understandable as possible. It didn’t assume anything of its audience and it took the time to walk through its topic in memorable ways. But most of all, its hosts weaved the entire presentation together to create a fun, educational event that made it the most rockin’ webinar of the year.

So there you have it. Three webinars that went above and beyond in 2019 to deliver approachable content that resonated, educated and engaged with audiences of all backgrounds. If you’d like to learn more about how you can create a webinar that rocks, then keep an eye on this space in January — Webinerd Appreciation Month — when we take a closer look at all of the Webinars That Rocked 2019 finalists and why they each rocked in their way.

Jack’s Hacks: The Many Types of Webinar Email

It takes a lot of emails to get an audience in front of a webinar. Let’s take a look at the emails you need in your repertoire.

Pre-Event

Confirmation Email (Operational)

The confirmation email is the most important email for a webinar. If you had to, you could survive with only the confirmation email. A confirmation email needs to include the title, time, date and link to access the webinar. I heavily encourage including outlook and google calendar links that allow registrants to add an event to their calendars. Confirmation emails are also a great chance to serve up related content that registrants can view “while they wait.”

Reminder Email(s) (Operational)

Like most things, reminder emails take some testing to hone in. What we have found to work the best is a note from the speaker a day or two before the webinar to remind registrants that they are registered and to attend the event.

We also send a second reminder at the start of the webinar announcing the event is underway. This reminder looks very operational. Take a look.

 

HTML Promo

Pretty straight forward. Standard promotional email using your email template. I suggest having a link in the banner, at least two in the copy and, of course, a button.

Text Promo

We find that alternating between text and HTML promo emails seems to work the best. Different people respond to different types. Generally, text promos are sent from the speaker of the webinar and treated as a letter to the recipient.

Post Event

Attendee Follow Up (Operational)

Since the recipient has already attended the webinar, the attendee follow-up email is your chance to offer a lot of related content. Make sure to thank them for attending and include a way to watch the webinar on-demand, but really focus on what they can do next.

No Show Follow Up (Operational)

I believe that the goal of the no show follow-up is to convince the recipient to attend the webinar that they missed. We like to remind them of they registered for the webinar and that it’s now accessible at any time. We also recommend including a recap of what the webinar is about. And, of course, a link to access the webinar. Keep it simple.

Make Your Digital Campaign a Work of Art

As marketers, we spend a lot of time crafting creative content. But often, these incredible pieces we poured our time and energy into remain in a silo and don’t get integrated into bigger campaigns (like this blog – which we wrote just to hop on a meme bandwagon).

Content produced in isolation is never going to get as much attention as it deserves… it is destined to have a short shelf-life and fade away into the archives of the Internet.

Art, But Make It Modern

Luckily, we don’t have to rely solely on a creative genius to design campaigns that resonate. Today, we can use the digital tools available to us to develop a deep understanding of our audiences and their interests. We can tap into data on both content performance and lead intelligence before packaging up our best performing content to create long-lasting campaign experiences.

Collection Worthy Content

Here are five quick steps you can take to channel a modern Leonardo da Vinci or, more appropriate for the occasion, a Maurizio Cattelan:

  1. Identify an audience segment you want to inspire and look into the content you have that resonates with that audience.
  2. Select a mix of that content to support different consumption preferences and time commitments (If you lack content for a specific audience or a stage of the buyer’s journey, don’t panic: you’ve just found a great new content idea).
  3. Using a digital tool (as basic as a WordPress page or as functional as an ON24 Target page) craft an always-on content experience curated to your audience’s tastes — consider it your art gallery.
  4. After you share your composition, look at your data and critique your performance — emphasize content and lead quality.
  5. Finally, adjust your campaign experience to satisfy your toughest critics.

If Art Basel taught us anything this week, it’s that making art is easy if you have the right tools to do it. And, like bananas and duct tape, sometimes all it takes is using the materials already at your disposal and putting them together in a new, avant-garde way.

See how we made our campaign into a work of art, and learn how ON24 can help you strike the balance of using data insights and creating campaign experiences.

Jack’s Hacks: Straight to Webinar Redirect

If you use Marketo forms/landing pages for your webinar registration, there is a fun little trick that you can use to instantly direct on-demand viewers to your webinars. It’s is pretty straight forward and makes for a great user experience. Let’s walk through it.

The first step is to create a new Marketo landing page. I like to use a completely blank page, but that isn’t necessary. While editing the page click “Edit Page Meta Tags.” Inside of the Custom Head HTML, you paste the following code:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=http://event.on24.com/interface/registration/autoreg/index.html?eventid=xxxxx&key=yyyyy&deletecookie=true&email={{lead.Email Address}}” />

Make very sure that you paste the whole code. If you leave out, “email={{lead.Email Address}}” then you will end up a bunch of anonymous watchers!

The next step is to fill in the eventid and eventkey from the webinar. Both of these can be found in the audience URL in Webcast Elite. The eventid is short and comprised of numbers; the eventkey is long and both letters and numbers.

The finished code will look like this:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=http://event.on24.com/interface/registration/autoreg/index.html?eventid=1807968&key=6CD8BE728FC92EACBB89E3B5A09F712B&deletecookie=true&email={{lead.Email Address}}” />

Once the Marketo page is finished and approved, simply use the URL as the thank you page after form submission and voila! You are off and running.

Now, if you are going to be doing this at scale, I highly suggest building it into your Marketo webinar program templates. Here is how I did it.

First I tokenized the eventid and eventkeys in the code, which looks like this:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0;URL=http://event.on24.com/interface/registration/autoreg/index.html?eventid={{my.eventid}}&key={{my.eventkey}}&deletecookie=true&email={{lead.Email Address}}” />

Second I added a landing page to our program templates that is pre-approved and, thanks to the tokens, ready to go! As long as the tokens are filled in, everything works from the get-go.

The ABCs of Engaging ABM Experiences

Admittedly, this isn’t our first go at ABM. We actually tried it four years ago and it didn’t catch on because the technology wasn’t there and the plays we ran weren’t targeted enough to gain any real traction. But now we’re back with a (polite) vengeance and achieving everything we hoped the first time because a lot of important things have fallen into place. We’ve got some serious top-down executive support. We’ve got a full-funnel strategy. And we’ve got the tools to expand within a diversity of accounts that wouldn’t have been possible before.

This article was originally published on abmleadershipalliance.com. Shared with author’s permission.

In this article, I’ll explain why our ABM program is working and some tips for making the most of it—particularly with webinars.

What’s different now

The ON24 ABM program is the brainchild of our CMO Joe Hyland. He saw a way to appeal more deeply to our broad-ranging customer base in every vertical from manufacturing to life sciences. Our CEO is also a big proponent because ABM helps us gather feedback and design products that appeal more specifically to customers in each of those verticals, like compliance-heavy financial services. And our Director of Demand Generation has led the charge on expanding within the existing customer base, which has completely changed how we partner with sales—in a very positive way.

Everyone is united around the same set of questions: How do we get into new units of demand and speak their language? How do we get our foot in the door with a customer and provide such a great experience they not only stay but grow? Asking these questions has both helped us drive more demand and made our customer journey more cohesive. It forces us to widen our scope and treat each vertical differently, rather than applying the common denominator of outreach to everyone.

It should come as no surprise that our ABM approach uses webinars and digital content experiences. If you provide high-value content to target accounts, you produce actionable data. And the best part about webinars and their landing pages (what we call target pages) is that they have a long shelf life, enabling you to repurpose and scale. But even more important than having engaging channels that you excel at is having a strategy that surrounds it. You have to personalize your campaign before, during, and after—especially when they include webinars.

Personalizing before

First impressions are critical. And oftentimes, the effectiveness of early engagement comes down to the relevance of the content. So when we strategize on creating digital engagements with ABM accounts, we take the time to stop and really think of each customer individually. What do we already know about them? If they come from our core vertical ICP’s, can we specialize the topics to their industry needs? What topics have customers like them responded to in the past? How can we surround core campaign experiences (like workshops, webinars, and events) with other meaningful content?

High-touch personalization might sound daunting at first but it isn’t if you stay organized. Map out the new campaigns and their associated content, and you’ll start to see very interesting trends arise in what’s needed, and this will help you repurpose elements to scale things.

Personalizing webinars

What about personalizing a webinar? The most impactful webinars I see are held for the pure intention of helping the audience do their job better. It’s an “I want to serve” mindset, not “I want leads,” that draws a crowd.

The thing about webinars is that people don’t attend them by accident. Nobody sits through a 30 or 90-minute program just for fun. They do it because they think you’re going to help them do their job, get promoted, or seriously shorten their evaluation. The challenge is delivering on your promise to provide value while ensuring the session is engaging and leaves a strong brand presence.

You also have to engage them during the webinar in lots of ways beyond sharing slides. Incorporate case studies, data sheets, or other content into your online events. You’ll help the attendee, but also collect additional data insights on their interests. It’s the same for interactive elements like polls or surveys. Polls are fun for your audience—people are often intensely curious what others think—and they produce immensely valuable data. If you survey viewers about where they are in their evaluation, they’ll tell you right then—no more guessing. Plus, you can feed that information right along to sales.

One of our most successful land-and-expand webinar strategies is personalizing a webinar to just one existing customer. We’ll invite a customer advocate within that account to co-host the session with us and explain to their colleagues how they use ON24. It’s relevant, credible, and as personal as it gets. Plus, it’s a cool way for our advocates to show off their work.

Making your content experiences continuous

With ABM, quality content and scale mean everything to your success. Make sure those nuggets of successful content get the visibility they deserve. For example, 66% of people tend to view webinars on-demand. If you aren’t hosting your webinars for all to see or driving additional promotions, you’re missing over half of your engagement opportunities. Plus, depending on your platform, you can repeat the live event, maintaining interactive elements like pop-ups and polls and achieve the same effect.

As you build a library of quality content, gate it, combine it with other content, and distribute in an externally available digital experience. Zendesk, for instance, pairs its Gartner Magic Quadrant reports with existing webinars to target specific key accounts, and Infor packages product videos, webinars, and customer stories together for target industries. There are endless uses for high-value, interactive, personalized content.

My actionable takeaway: Challenge yourself to deliver so much value with your marketing that buyers want to sign up and watch an entire webinar on it.

Six Key Steps to Building an Optimization Culture

This post is the last in our series on B2B marketing optimization and how to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

So far, this series on optimization has covered a number of ways in which you can improve your B2B marketing through optimization across the entire customer journey.

As part of this process, you will have likely identified and set goals for your optimization efforts. But making optimization an ongoing process requires a cultural change too — without this, individual contributors will not pursue continual improvement proactively, putting your organization at risk of decay and decline.

To make this happen, we’ve put together a few steps that will help you build an optimization culture not just in marketing, but across sales and customer success too.

1. Get buy-in from the top on an optimization vision

Before you can get other teams to follow you on an optimization journey, you need to make sure you have support from everyone involved.

As you dismantle barriers of siloed teams and targets, set and shape a vision for optimization. This is an ideal point to bring up optimization because you will already be talking about working collaboratively on targets. Taking the vision to a higher level should be part of your conversation here.

2. Work optimization into objectives and key results

As you set collaborative targets, look to also establish measures that demonstrate optimization in action.

Regardless of the performance review and management techniques your organization uses, or whether they are formal or informal in nature, look to get optimization on the to-do list for everyone.

3. Make sure everyone knows about the optimization vision

If you want everyone to work towards optimizing each part of the customer journey — particularly if you will be setting objectives and targets — everyone will first need to know that there’s a shared vision. If they don’t know, then they won’t take the necessary steps.

Schedule a time to come together with leaders from sales, customer success and more broadly across the business to share the optimization vision with everyone.

If you’re part of a large and distributed organization, webinars can also be highly useful as a communications platform for businesses to get the word out.

4. Allow anyone to suggest and make changes in pursuit of optimization

Great ideas can come from anywhere. However, to make them a reality, everybody needs to feel they can both suggest ideas and that they are empowered to put them into action.

Cited earlier, our post, “How to Make Your Marketing Team More Agile” also notes that removing a fear of failure is a critical step to getting people to shift into a ‘test and learn’ mentality.

Within recent years, the Japanese idea of kaizen (translated as “change for better”) has become popular as an approach that allows employees to suggest and make changes. Toyota is particularly famed for this approach and has reportedly implemented the vast majority of changes that those on the front line have put forward. All of this has energized employees.

5. Encourage knowledge sharing to celebrate success and learn from what doesn’t work

To both maintain the momentum for optimization and spread the word about what’s working well, make sure that the results — both effective and ineffective — are visible for people to see.

One practice from the world of software development is the sprint retrospective. The agenda is simple and typically just has three points: what worked well; what could be improved; and what should be done next time? ON24 client Atlassian has a guide on how to run a retrospective, but these points could also be incorporated into any existing meetings you currently have.

To spread this knowledge even further, consider adding these points to your company’s own online communication spaces — whether that’s on an intranet, a company wiki or even a channel on a messaging app such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.

6. Reward and incentivize optimization efforts across your organization

To keep up the good work, make sure you acknowledge optimization efforts, even if an attempt didn’t result in a positive uplift.

How you should best do this is up to you, but this should be a regular occurrence. Even if optimization is tied to annual targets, rewarding efforts on such a time scale is unlikely to be enough to reinforce positive behavior. Both informal rewards, such as buying snacks for the team or even just saying thank you, and more structured incentives such as those connected to compensation, should be frequent enough to keep optimization front of mind for everyone.

Good luck with your efforts on making optimization a success in your organization!

If you’re interested in seeing how ON24 can transform your marketing efforts, sign up for a live demo to see the platform in action.

Feature Friday: Content Experience Builder

Buyers consume an average of 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Added to that, 97% of B2B buyers want to have relevant content that speak directly to their company.

In other words, the right, personalized content needs to get to your target audience at the right time in their buyer journey. But there are many factors that go into building engaging content experiences that take time and effort, such as organizing content, understanding what performs best per audience or persona, re-branding content, re-creating content experience pages and editing existing content. Managing and creating content experiences for your target audience, shouldn’t be a roadblock to executing your programs.

In order to scale and effectively reach audiences, you need to weed out time-consuming, complicated processes. With ON24 Target, building branded experiences that drive engagement is easy and effortless. Target’s Content Experience Builder is a dynamic tool that enables users to create beautiful experiences with the proper images and colors in a few simple steps.

Choose from various layouts, displaying a single video or even a multitude of related content on a page. Then simply drag and drop the best webinars, videos, documents and web pages into the chosen layout.

Customizing pages is easy. With robust styling options, from uploading banners, background images and thumbnails to selecting custom colors, fonts and images, and customizing border-radius and shadowing, you can efficiently create and deliver personalized content experience for your intended audience or account.

Break through the noise by packaging all relevant content into one experience—with an intuitive and easy workflow—to effectively engage your target audiences.

If you’d like to learn more about ON24 Target and building personalized content experiences to support and scale account-based marketing, please contact us. If you’re an ON24 customer, contact your CSM to get started.

How to Use Webinars to Create Brand Advocates

This post is the latest in our series on B2B marketing optimization and how to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

We finished up our last post where we focused on how webinars can reduce churn by suggesting turning your clients into advocates.

This next post will take a deeper dive into how you can use webinars for your customer advocacy marketing. Let’s get started.

Identify several potential advocates with customer success

As part of your optimization efforts, you may want to consider focusing on how many users you can turn into brand advocates. Can you increase the number of customers who can either join you on a webinar or take part in a case study?

There are a few ways of identifying how many potential advocates you have. Sit down with your customer success team and, together, identify how many users could make compelling advocates for your product or service. Also, examine engagement and usage data in your CRM and any other metrics that can help you pinpoint potential advocates.

It’s important to create a list with more advocates than you need, as not everyone will be able to assist due to commitments at work and elsewhere.

Identify what you want them to do for you

Once you have your shortlist of advocates, you now need to identify what you want them to do for you.

Try keeping it small at first. It might even help to create your own customer advocate journey. Perhaps start by asking them to sign-off on a quote singing the praises of your product or service and then progress into participating in a full case study and then taking part in a webinar or presenting at a live conference.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

We aren’t talking Godfather style here, of course. You or your customer success team can send out an email asking them to do whatever you’d like them to do (provide a quote or case study or participate in a webinar) and offer them an incentive or reward. The incentive can be anywhere from a discount or some swag, or as simple as a thank you. It’s up to you and what you think will properly reward them for their efforts.

Suggest webinar formats that make it easy

Since we are focusing on webinars, once you have their involvement, suggest webinar formats that will make it easy for the advocate.

The panel format is perfect for this because all they need to do is to show up, have a webcam ready and answer questions. They can even be pre-recorded so being present at the time of broadcast isn’t necessary.

Get them to commit to a particular time, place and activity

Once you have their interest, look to lock in their commitment in their calendar. This will help both you and your new advocate to plan accordingly.

Be flexible on time and commitments if needed

That flows right into the next point: be flexible on the time and commitment required.

Keep in mind, your advocates are busy professionals and other priorities might come up, so being respectful of their involvement and flexible on commitments can only help to strengthen your long-term relationship.

Get their name in front of potential prospects and customers

Once you’ve got the content from the advocate, whether it be a case study or a webinar, get your advocate’s name out there for people to see.

This is important because not only is this the job you wanted them to do, but it also reassures your advocate that their input has been useful and valued and that it has been taken forward.

Reward them after the webinar and build on their experience

Make sure to reward your advocate after they’ve participated in the webinar. Rewards can be either material or immaterial; just make sure they feel supported and appreciated for their time and efforts.

Lastly, build on their experience over time so they continue to deepen the relationship with you. Ensure that they feel valued and happy to speak up.

To see how ON24 showcases its own brand advocate webinerds, check out ON24’s customer stories and see their examples of success.

Five Accounting Webinar Programs that Build Client Engagement

The accounting market is saturated with competition and service commoditization is causing prices to go down. These changes make it difficult for firms to showcase their value and expertise. To counter this, accountancy is going digital and rolling out webinar programs to scale, reach and communicate effectively with current and future clients.

So what do these digital programs look like? We’ve scoured our customer base to examine what kind of webinars accounting firms are running and why. We’ve consolidated those findings in our report, “High Growth Report for Accounting,” but when it comes to actually delivering webinars, we found that these five formats tend to be the most popular among accounting firms.

Continuing Education

Accountants and most tax professionals require continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. So it’s no surprise accounting firms use this fact to their advantage and create their own regular series of CE-accredited webinars. CE webinars draw in large crowds of CPAs. This provides firms with a channel to showcase their expertise and recognize new business. Because ON24 is designed to meet certification requirements set by most governing bodies, our customers can adjust credit allotments based on viewing time and auto-generate certificates for attendees upon completion.

Niche Topic Series

We’re seeing firms build thought leadership in their communities by producing a weekly or monthly cadence of niche webinar topics. A topical webinar series provides firms with a channel to respond to industry news and trends, showcase the expertise of their partners and build and maintain client relationships. Companies can maximize the life of their programs by repurposing live webinars and using them in content hubs for on-demand consumption.

ABM Experiences: Portfolio Updates

The latest tax updates and regulations can be difficult to understand and clients will turn to their accounting firms for guidance on how to move forward. Firms are using this as an opportunity to provide personalized webinar experiences for top clients. How they do this is by running webinars for a specific private equity firm and their subsequent portfolio companies to share how the latest update affects those companies specifically. ABM programs such as these are a great way to retain customers by providing a white-glove experience for high-value clients.

Podcasts

Podcasts are incredibly popular in the accounting space and are a great way to broadcast a firm’s voice to busy financial executives. Firms can have partners host regular podcasts that share their perspectives on industry topics of interest to their target audiences. In addition to webinars, ON24 Webcast Elite can be used to record podcasts with the option of including video and additional resources.

Employee Skills Development

Every company needs to ensure employees are educated on company positioning, can identify upsell opportunities and know how to use company technology — especially accounting firms. For this reason, many accounting firms  use webinars as a tool to facilitate employee training programs. Webinars provide the ability to scale to global workforces and the flexibility for employees to watch at their own convenience. Organizing training content using Engagement Hubs is a great tool to simplify employee onboarding.

To see peer examples and hear a deeper explanation into these programs, check out the webinar Digital Engagement for Accounting Firms.